New policy too costly

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, November 20, 2003

It is already apparent that people are going to make an issue of the new verbiage in the city's health care policy including domestic partners, based on their opinions and moral beliefs. However, I feel that this may cloud another very important issue as to why domestic partnerships should not be included in the new CBJ insurance policy.

With the new policy, in order for our family to maintain the same health benefits we had with the old policy, we will now have to pay an additional $190 per month out of our own pockets - along with the 20 percent co-pay and yearly deductibles. Because of the ever-increasing health care costs, I understand that in order to maintain the current level of health care, employees may need to shoulder some of the financial burden. So then where is the logic in adding another group of people to an already strained health care plan?

The new policy allows you to add, delete or change your insurance policy once a year. Who is to determine whether or not Joe Schmo adds his girlfriend, Suzy Q, along with her three kids, as his domestic partner? But then the next year, Joe decides to ditch Suzy Q and signs up Betty Boo and her two kids? There are probably hundreds of scenarios that could transpire under the title of a domestic partnership. But in the end who pays for the extra costs? If your answer was just CBJ employees, think again.

As I stated above, some city employees are going to have to fork over an extra $190 per month out of pocket if they want to receive the same benefits they had in the old plan. By adding more people to the insurance plan with their own set of health care issues how long do you think city employees will be able to shoulder the added health care burdens? I can almost guarantee you that it won't be long before city officials are crying out to the Juneau citizens for more money to pay towards employee health care benefits. Or the city will lose valuable employees because their wages aren't enough to compensate for extremely high insurance premiums.

Domestic partnership is a lifestyle choice - just as a marriage is a lifestyle choice. Each comes with its own set of problems, issues and responsibilities. I have never seen a domestic partnership go before the IRS and request to be recognized as a married couple in order that they can be included in the marriage penalty tax.

Sarena Mahle

Juneau



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